- Associated Press - Monday, May 23, 2016

ATLANTA (AP) - Days after firing Miguel Southwell, former general manager of the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, Mayor Kasim Reed said he has no bad feelings about Southwell and wants to go in a new direction.

Reed said during a news conference Monday that his decision was based on making adjustments to his leadership team when they’re necessary, but didn’t elaborate on what led to him dismissing Southwell and the city’s watershed commissioner Jo Ann Macrina.

“Today really is not about the circumstance regarding their terminations or their exits. The bottom line is, is that we chose to go our separate ways and that this conversation is about the future,” Reed told reporters.

“In the coming days I’m confident that folks will make the judgment that we made the right call,” he said.

Reed said in a statement Friday night that Southwell’s tenure as general manager had ended. Roosevelt Council will serve as interim general manager of the airport. Council is the airport’s chief financial officer and deputy general manager.

Southwell’s firing comes while the airport prepares to begin a $6 billion expansion and renovation project and as passengers criticize long security wait times at Atlanta’s airport and others nationwide.

Manager of the airport’s capital program, Frank Rucker, will support Council in his new role, Reed said.

“So the $6 billion capital program will continue to be managed by the individual who has been managing it all along and he’s another individual with an impeccable reputation in the industry,” Reed said.

The mayor added that the airport is looking to build two new domestic parking decks, open five new gates in concourse T, add a sixth runway and invest more than $900 million in a new concourse.

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